DIY tips for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and headpiece

Recently I attempted a DIY on 5 bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, three corsages and one crown/headpiece for my son’s wedding.  I have lots of perennial plants in my gardens and lots of clients with even more beautiful flowers, so I thought “piece of cake.”  Not so much; it was a much trickier DIY than I thought but well worth the effort.

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I researched lots of Pinterest pages, and other DIY sites so I had notes to refer to.  The toughest part was that I could not do much (other than research) ahead of time (other than pace my gardens willing the flowers to bloom!)   To keep the flowers as fresh for as long as possible, I could only pick them the day before the wedding.

Mother Nature threw me a CURVE BALL too; I had planted lots of purple flowering perennials last fall that were supposed to bloom the beginning of June.  Due to the cold and wet spring we experienced here in Ottawa, very few of those flowers were in bloom in time.  White peonies with purple roses and clematis were not meant to be for this DIY.

The following are the basic tips to ensuring your DIY bouquets turn out well.  Some are obvious, some not so much, some lessons I learned along the way…

  • don’t pick the flowers earlier than the morning before the wedding
  • have more flowers and foliage than you think you need
  • as soon as you do pick them, cut the stems longer than they need to be and put the cut stems in cold water immediately
  • use a clean bucket and clean cutters (this helps the blooms last longer)
  • recut the stems while they are under running water or in water (this ensures no air bubble get into the stems, preventing premature wilting/rotting
  • let the flowers sit in cold water for a minimum of 3 hours before arranging.
  • to assemble, start with the main/center flowers, then add others to fill out the bouquets. Add foliage last
  •  Stand in front of a mirror as you are arranging them to better see how they look
  • use elastics to hold the flowers together, placing them just below the top of the stem.  If your bouquets are large you can use several elastic to hold flowers together in groups
  • prop up droopy flower heads with wire or tape (I should have done that with the rhododendrons in my bouquets, they were very droopy by the end of the day)
  • use tinier flowers and blooms for boutonnieres and head piece, (see below) cutting stems short.  These short stems do not stay as fresh as long as the longer stems, so plan to make these last
  • I made each bouquet different, creating as I went along.  If you want them all to be identical, you will have to count out your available flowers and have a more detailed plan.  I tend to fly by the seat of my pants!
  • as you finish each bouquet, place it in a separate vase of water so the flowers do not get crushed/crowded
  • leave a few extra inches of stems at the bottom of each bouquet for final trimming
  • buy lots of ribbon; you can always return whatever you do not use
  • wide ribbon wraps faster and easier than thin ribbon, but seems to come off easier.  I used narrow ribbon for a base, then did top layer in wider ribbon
  • make all the bouquets first before starting to wrap with ribbon.  This ensures flowers are not out of water too long.
  • start wrapping ribbon near tops of stems (where elastics are)
  • if you choose to have dangling ribbons, loop them in at the top before wrapping, keeping them out of the way as you work
  • hold ribbon with one hand and bouquet with the other, turning the bouquet as you wrap.  The first (downward) layer of ribbon does not have to be perfect; you can leave some stem showing between, filling in the blanks on the upward layer.  Leave two inches of unwrapped stem at the bottoms so ribbon does not get wet
  • put each bouquet back into its vase with fresh water to just below ribbon
  • at last minute ( I could do this as pictures were taken at my home, so cut excess stems off literally 2 minutes before bouquets were needed) cut off excess stems

 

 

This headpiece was made as follows;

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  • measure head with a piece of string
  • use a few (more than one) strands of floral wire to ensure stability, overlapping it by two inches, wrap with floral tape
  • cut flowers just before you use them (they wilt quickly) making stems 2 inches long
  • lay out flowers in the pattern you want to place them on the headpiece
  • place one bloom on headpiece so that stem is on top of and parallel to the wire circle
  • secure bloom to circle with floral tape, starting just below bloom and wrapping both stem and wire circle until end of stem
  • overlap next bloom so it sits on top of previous bloom’s stem, working your way around the circle of taped wire
  • tie strands of ribbon (if desired) to headpiece at center back
  • when complete, mist the creation with a bit of water and place it in a plastic baggy.  Blow air into the baggie and seal it.  Keep it in the baggy for as long as possible, the tiny blooms wilt quickly!  Store it in a refrigerator or cool room (basement)

 

I tried something a little different for the DIY boutonnieres.  I grew my own calla lillies, starting them in pots in my basement last winter…

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The groom’s had three tiny purple pom pom like flowers, the groomsmen just the calla lily and foliage.  For the foliage, I used tiny calla lily leaves and snippets of English ivy vine…

  • cut stems about 3 inches longer (could be shorter or longer as desired)
  • arrange flowers and foliage in the pattern you choose
  • wrap stems with floral wire
  • add decorative pin for securing to lapels
  • place each boutonniere in its own plastic baggy, mist lightly with water, blow air into baggy and seal.  Store baggys in refrigerator or cool room (I kept them all in my basement)
  • these too will wilt quickly as the stems and blooms are small.  My one son joked he had “salad on his suit” by the end of the night

 

The DIY corsages did not turn out so well.  The short stems would not stay in the pearl wristbands I chose.  I tried securing them with floral wire, but they kept falling apart.  The intense heat of the day did not help as the flowers wilted quickly too.  I would appreciate comments/sugguestions on what I could have done differently, just in case I have another wedding soon…

 

 

 

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In bloom this third week of July

More pictures from my zone 4 to 5 garden in Ottawa; these perennial flowers are blooming this third week of July…

new bloomers:

 

Many perennials that were blooming last week are still going strong…

 

…while others are showing promise of things to come…

 

The annuals I planted in containers and bare spots in the garden are also still blooming well.  I always choose annuals that offer interesting foliage as well as flowers…

 

This next plant with the large leaves is a mystery to me.  I did not plant it, I believe it has come from the vegetable garden in the backyard next door.  Any ideas?…

third week of July
mystery plant,

 

Purple passion

I have a passion for purple, especially when choosing flowers.  It is such a vibrant colour with so many shades available.  When my daughter-in-law decided she wanted shades of purple flowers in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of in my gardens.  I even planted extra perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…

 

Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the wedding thanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year.  To improvise,  I borrowed blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.

For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding)  my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!

 

Lots of April showers to bring May flowers

Hopefully, April showers do bring May flowers.  This week with all the rain we have received here in Ottawa, I am reminded of a verse I heard somewhere…

“When life seems grey,
Just think again,
No flowers bloom,
Without the rain.” 🌷

april-showers

picture from Pixabay

Canada Day fireworks one month late

Last weekend we were treated to fireworks at the lake, rescheduled from Canada Day (July 1)  weekend due to the local fire ban and hot, dry conditions.  You expert photographers will say these are out of focus and blurry, but I love the effect of the pops of light against the black sky.  My timing was a bit off on some of them; it was tricky to catch them just as they exploded…

 

Must be my gardening background,  as I think many of them look like flowers.

 

Step out of your Comfort Zone in your Garden

I must admit I will always have my favorite perennials, but working with many different plants lately in gardens throughout the western Ottawa area, I find myself warming up to plants I was never that fond of, forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

For some reason hostas were never on the top of my list of favorite perennials, but I now acknowledge they look awesome in some gardens, especially the large gardens where they have a chance to spread out.  These beauties are perfect in their setting…

I have also warmed up to colors other than my favorite purple, pink and yellow.  Red flowers were never on the top of my list either, but recently I have noticed how striking they are, especially next to a contrasting color.  These are red painted daisies, gorgeous in front of blue/purple irises:

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I am learning how to experiment outside of my comfort zone with new varieties and colors of perennials.  To do the same, instead of planting many plants of the same variety, try many varieties of plants for a spectacular and unique display.  Instead of choosing colors that match  (you are not planning your wardrobe here) choose colors opposite or at least far away from each other on the color wheel to achieve the most impact in your garden…

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Have fun with your designing, and remember, nothing in your garden is permanent.  I like to think of my garden as a work (of art) in process.  If you do not like the changes, you can always revert back to the previous version.

If you need help or have questions, contact me at www.gardens4u.ca